As a Georgia attorney focused on representing folks hurt in trucking accidents, I hear a lot of stories about driver fatigue issues, and how the practices of dispatchers and shippers affect fatigue, from truckers from across the U.S. and Canada. That’s why I try to keep up with trucking industry news from all over North America.

The North American Fatigue Management Program, which was launched in Alberta, Canada, is designed to determine when truckers should be driving or whether they need to pull over, based on personal differences.  Recognizing some people have sleep disorders that are treatable, the program seeks to put an emphasis on individuals by analyzing the trucker’s own circadian rhythm, his scheduling, and lifestyle differences.  For example, some drivers are morning people, while others are not.  Some have sleep disorders; others do not.

The program was conceived in Alberta as a partnership between Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation and the province’s trucking association. It was inspired by a joint study on driver fatigue by Transport Canada and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 1999.

The study could provide new insights about nighttime driving, napping and sleep debt, and serve as a framework for modifying hours of service rules in the U.S. and Canada.

"We had a concept and there are all kinds of research out there regarding napping, circadian rhythm and sleep apnea. We put all the known aspects of fatigue together and built a comprehensive fatigue management program.  It includes dispatch guidelines, screening for sleep disorders, medical intervention [so a driver won’t lose their job due to treatment], and training," according to Roger Clarke, executive director of Vehicle Safety and Carrier Services with Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation.

The Shigley Law Firm  represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia.  Recently elected Secretary of the State Bar of Georgia, Ken Shigley has been designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and former chair of both the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, bus wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.